Doris Staffel, Lotus Throne
Playful marks, patterned swirls, and simplified flat shapes reminiscent of teardrops, eyes, and fish all merge seamlessly with a highly organized underlying geometry. Staffel, who practices Tibetan Buddhism, is interested in the resolution of polarities: airiness in a shallow space, images that read individually and as a whole.
The artist's friend and colleague Larry Day wrote an essay to accompany her 1973 exhibition, Doris Staffel: Recent Paintings. In it he wrote, "The paintings are Icon-like. Drawing on Tantric traditions and contemporary sensi-bility, they seek to place themselves at the disposal of the most amazing possibilities. There is probably no more ambitious undertaking for a painting to attempt than to become magical.
"In an age of pseudo-risk," Day continued, "she takes real risks -risks with credibility because the work calls for a fineness and modesty of tone, a kind of precision of feeling that must be right or the whole structure will collapse."
Listen to Doris Staffel, Philadelphia artist, explain the influence of a certain type of manual labor had on her artwork.